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Boiling Water

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Her feet hit hard on the pavement, kicking up dirt and shredding the grass as she went along.

She had to get away.

Had to make it out of that dreadful place.

She had no clue where she was going, but she had to get there.

She could hear her brother calling to her. He said he wanted to help her. Unfortunately for dear Zu-Zu, Azula didn't want him to help her. He'd 'helped' enough already.

She could have sworn she heard her mother tell him to stop chasing her. But for all Azula knew, that could be some sort of trap, a trick of some kind. She couldn't take any chances so she just kept running, running.

Running and running until she felt her legs go weak and her lungs scream for air.

By the time Azula decided to stop running, she was worn out. Panting rather heavily she lowered herself to the ground, gazing into the rippling water of a small pond.

She had an odd urge to let herself fall into it. The water seemed to whisper to her. Beckoning her into its depths.

How odd…

A pond calling a firebender…

Ming Hua found the girl lying face down in the middle of the street…kid was lucky no Satomobiles were out this late at night.

Upon nudging the girl with the toe of her shoe, Ming concluded that the girl was sound asleep…or dead. She couldn't really check for a pulse.

So instead she sunk down and hovered her ear over the girl's lips.

The sound of her in-taking air was a good sign on its own, made even better by a puff of warm breathy against Ming's ear.

Yup, the girl was alive.

And she showed no clear sign of any critical injury. In fact, the dark haired girl didn't seem to have a scratch on her.

"What kind of lunatic sleeps in the middle of the street?" Ming Hua muttered to herself?

Ming had every intention of leaving the girl just lying there…she was probably just another street rat anyways. And the Red Lotus had no room nor time for a teenage girl to tag alongside them. But there was something rather compelling about this girl…

Something that seemed to fascinate the armless waterbender.

Ming didn't much want to carry the girl so settled on slapping her cheek with one of her liquid arms.

The girl's face bunched up in discomfort—some sort of instinctual gesture—but she didn't show any signs of waking up.

With some reluctance Ming Hua decided she would indeed, carry the stupid child to the Red Lotus' little hideout.

P'Li and Zaheer clearly weren't as thrilled about this new addition to their team as Ming was. Frankly she couldn't tell what Gahzan thought of the newcomer.

"We don't even know who this girl is." P'Li hissed.

"Don't you think it's rather risky to just pick up some girl you found on the street?" Zaheer added.

"She just seems like extra baggage." And there it was, Gahzan's opinion on the matter.

Ming assembled herself some water just so she could give them all a simple shrug. "There's just something about this girl. She's…different."

"Important." She added.

"Do elaborate, Ming." Zaheer gestured her to continue speaking.

She gave another shrug. "I can't."

"Ming, put her back where you found her." P'Li stated. "Before she wakes up and starts asking questions."

"With all due respect P'Li, I think I'd like to keep her." Ming Hua insisted.

"Ming Hua! This is ridiculous." P'Li frowned. She then looked to Zaheer for some back up.

The man tapped his chin. "I suppose she could stay."

Before Ming could offer him a thank you, he added; "but, if she causes any problems…becomes a burden, you will kill her."

"Kill her?"

"The minute she opens her eyes will be the minute she sees too much. And we can't have her talking of our whereabouts or any plans we may or may not discuss in front of her."

Ming sighed. "Fine, I'll put her back where I found her."

It was at that declaration, that the girl decided she'd wake up. Her amber eyes fluttered open, she rubbed the back of her head. "Where am I?"